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Encouraging the Historians of the Future

Submitted by Emma R Hinchliffe on April 6, 2018 - 10:21am
The History Honors students present their research.
The History honors students present their research.

Undergraduate Honors Program Students Present Work 

The Honors in History program is designed to give undergraduates a taste of what a career in history looks like, by beginning to prepare them for the historian’s life outside of the classroom. Honors students engage in intense individual research on a specific subject of their choosing and are asked to build a thesis from the ground up over three quarters of focused study. 

All this hard work culminates in the presentation of their researchin front of peers, friends, and facultyat the annual Honors in History Presentations in winter quarter. The presentations are modeled on academic conferences and consist of different thematic sessions based on the students’ work.

This is always an exciting event for the Department of History community, and 2018’s cohort rose to the challenge. This year’s themes were: projecting imperial power, imagining new collective futures, and constructing identities, regulating norms. 

One of the students who participated was Nicholas Staley. A senior from Enumclaw, Washington, Staley presented his work West by Land, East by Sea: The Shifting Identity of the Venetian Nobility and Merchant Elite following The Battle of Lepanto.”  This study looked at the shifting identity of this powerful and influential group in early modern Italy. 

“The History Honors program was appealing to me because it was a way to challenge myself while producing a work that I could bring with me to grad school and hopefully be proud of.” In many ways, the experience was the challenge Staley expected, especially when it came to primary research, but it was all worth it: “There is nothing more rewarding than challenging yourself. The program completely shifted the way I approach writing and the field of history as a whole, and presenting my research was just wonderful! In my mind, it was a chance to share the fruits of hundreds of hours of labor, and it was great to see an engaged audience.” Following the experience, Staley now plans to go on to pursue a PhD in history and a career in academia! 

“There is nothing more rewarding than challenging yourself. The program completely shifted the way I approach writing and the field of history as a whole.

Another honors student, Colin Jones, was also attracted to the program for the unique opportunity it offered for in-depth, graduate-style research. “I liked the idea of writing a large thesis paper. I hadn’t undertaken a project of that size before, so the Honors Program gave me an opportunity to learn how.” Jones’s project, “Pearl of the Era: Afghanistan, Nationalism, and Empire,” explored “issues with current Afghan colonial historiography and how these may have impacted Afghan nationalism in its nascent stages.” After graduation, he hopes to either teach or work in the public sector as a diplomat to Iran, putting his knowledge of the Middle East to a very important use. 

Other speakers and presentations 

Tianli Song, “The Emerging Mediator of Diplomacy: The Zongli Yamen and the Margary Affair of 1875.” 

Eleanor Kahn, “The Smell of Empire: Democracy, Communism, and Anti-Communism in the U.S. Military Occupation of Korea.”

Patrick Lucas Topor-Madry, “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost Dance: Exploring Lakota Resistance against the U.S. Empire.”

Arthur Walker, “Forging a Republic: A Material Analysis of Kurdish Nationalism’s Birth.”

Isabelle V. Matlick, “Oceans Apart: The Transforming Identities of Rose McGrory and the Irish Immigrant Experience.” 

Nan Gearhardt, “Traversing Gender: Non-Normative Gender and Medicalization in the United States, 1900-1930.

Annie Lewis, “Precarious Whiteness: Re-imagining the Seattle Sephardic Origin Story.”  

It’s always great to see our Husky Historians forging their paths toward great things. Congratulations to all our Honors in History students for your stellar work and commitment.